China’s Online Games Ethics Committee lifts year-long ‘freeze’ on game licenses but bars multiple games

    
34

As MMO players will recall, in March of this year, the Chinese government put a freeze on reviewing and approving video games for domestic release, resulting in many game releases — such as that of this year’s Monster Hunter World — being considerably delayed or halted altogether. But according to a recent report from GamesIndustry.biz, which comes courtesy of the South China Morning Post, the newly formed Online Games Ethics Committee (part of the State Administration of Press and Publications, part of the government’s propaganda department) “began operating ‘recently,’ and has already reviewed an initial cohort of 20 games.”

Of those 20 games, however, “only nine were approved and 11 were rejected until they ‘eliminate moral hazard.” According to an unsubstantiated post on Reddit, the nine “approved,” including Blade & Soul, League of Legends, and multiple Blizzard titles, still require significant “corrective measures,” while those rejected include a range of battle royale titles from PUBG and Fortnite to H1Z1. The rationales range from gore and sexual content and vulgarity to “inharmonious chat,” which… OK, yeah, that’s fair.

The new approval committee is part of the Chinese government’s recent crackdown on video games amid concerns “about the relationship between games and everything from addiction to myopia.” Since the freeze began earlier this year, “the growth of China’s video games market . . . has slowed dramatically, and local publishers have been suffering their own financial struggles,” though GamesIndustry.biz notes that many publishers have stated that “they’re unconcerned by the current freeze on games,” though we’ve certainly seen Tencen react already.

Whether the market will be revivified by the onset of the Online Games Ethic Committee’s operation remains to be seen.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz, South China Morning Post, MMO Fallout, Reddit. Cheers, Wilhelm and Kinya!
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Bryan Correll

many publishers have stated that “they’re unconcerned by the current freeze on games,”

Many publishers are lying out their asses.

Reader
Robert Mann

The rationales range from “Does this fit with our desired political and social landscape” to “Does this fit with our desired political and social landscape?”

China is looking very eerily like it did a little more than 30 years ago. :(

Reader
flamethekid .

The rationales range from gore and sexual content and vulgarity to “inharmonious chat,”

Approves Blade and Soul and League of legends despite not following the rationales

rejects Fortnite and Pubg despite them following the rationale

Reader
Arktouros

The key in deciphering talk like this is look less at what they are actually saying and what they are saying it about.

In this particular case you have what boils down to two scenarios: Games with text chat (MOBAs, MMOs, etc) and games with voice chat (Battle Royales, etc). One is easily monitored and recorded and the other is not.

Reader
Arktouros

Just like I said.

The freeze won’t last forever, and it’s mostly about making sure people get their games in line with what China wants. That means lots of monitoring and other technical additions to be in line with that country’s draconian online policies. New games like Diablo Immortal have plenty of runway to make all the changes so they include all the right monitoring/reporting setups that the Chinese government wants and NetEase will be able to help them sort through that quicker.

Like China wants that tax revenue as much as the next country, they’re just unwilling to give up their extreme levels of control and monitoring for a quick buck. Not saying I’d want to live there, but logically I get it.

Reader
Utakata

That’s China’s Online Games “Ethics” Committee to you!

Reader
silverlock

How can an unreleased game have “inharmonious chat” that seems more like something that should be used as a warning for an all ready running game.

Reader
john lavallee

The article is combining two different topics. One is new games being allowed into China, the other is games currently operating in China that got a government morality review. The Reddit post is for the latter.

Reader
Arktouros

I would imagine they meant that the chat tools in game weren’t being monitored and therefore could be used as a tool to spread dissent.

Reader
Mr.McSleaz

That’s what I was thinking too.

Reader
rafael12104

This is so much bullshit. I’m sorry, but it is. Blade and Soul gets a pass from this commission but PUBG, Fortnite, and H1Z1 don’t? Lolololololol.

Look, I play BnS. It is my main MMO. And all things being equal I love what the game offers. But, with regard to outfits and some of the obvious sexual intrigue that is part and parcel of the games aesthetic, I certainly would not place it above the games mentioned above.

Oh, yeah. You don’t kill other players with a sniper rifle. But you can slice and dice them apart in pvp while wearing a bikini. Heh.

Nah, this is all about a payoff. I’m sure of it now. Moral hazard is being bought and sold in China. Just like it always has.

Oh, and as one who has done business in China, I’ll just end with: this situation is not at all unusual.

Shall we play a game?

Screenshot_180720_003.jpg
Reader
john lavallee

You never played the chinese client before it came over to NA/EU did you? We got the Korean/JP/TW version which capitalized on boob physics.

Reader
rafael12104

Actually, I’m not sure. I recently played on Chinese servers to check out the Awakening stuff. I didn’t see any appreciable difference. Although to be fair, I didn’t hang out. I focused on Awakened skills, that is all.

Reader
john lavallee

Yeah.. the majority of the costumes on the China client were the super fluffy ones, non revealing, or reimaginings of times long ago. Either way, that great firewall of China made lag terrible, but was the only legit means of playing BNS before it came here.

Reader
flamethekid .

I played the Chinese ones some of the costumes that were censored in the Chinese ones were more attractive or sexual than the uncensored in my opinion.

Reader
Utakata

B&S: Even with more breezier bikinis now! I just want them to drop a full pink dress for once! >.<

Reader
Mr.McSleaz

Nice bracelets.

Reader
Leiloni

Not much of this makes sense to me reading that Reddit link, but I am glad that someone is at least addressing myopia, aka nearsightedness. In recent decades the amount of people with it has gone up substantially worldwide, more so in Asian countries (80-90% of high school seniors supposedly have nearsightedness in Asia and Southeast Asia). The US isn’t as bad, but it’s grown a lot. It’s a big and very concerning problem. Here’s a recent article – https://nei.nih.gov/content/myopia-close-look-efforts-turn-back-growing-problem

There’s thinking that excessive computer use can cause or worsen myopia (presumably in people already susceptible to it). As far as I know it’s not totally proven, but many doctors seem to think it’s likely and what is agreed upon is extensive use of computers, tablets, phones, or even reading books does cause eye strain which can lead to a number of issues

Personally I’ve had myopia since I was 5 and it’s in the “severe” range now, although stable. I suspect my eyes would be a lot better had I not spent so much time in front of computers growing up. My doctor told me there’s a 20/20/20 rule you can practice while doing any sort of “close work”, that will help prevent eye strain. I only wish I’d been told this 25 years ago. I’d have done more to protect my vision.

Reader
silverlock

Please keep in mind that more people being diagnosed with something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more prevalent now, it can just mean that awareness of the problem has grown. I’m not saying that the case here but it is something people tend to overlook.

Now that I think about it doesn’t the rise of myopia in Asia more or less coincide with it’s growing economy. So it can be inferred that myopia in Asia is being reported more now because people now have the money to address it.

Reader
Leiloni

I understand for things like Autism that may be true, because people didn’t understand it before and are still learning about it today. But people have been diagnosing nearsightness for at least hundreds of years. It’s something the medical community understands a lot and I can tell you as someone who has it, there’s no mistaking it. If you can’t see clearly, you know.

On the recent rise, it’s something I’ve heard a lot about for a while. A lot of studies have been done investigating why, and some of those are summarized in the article I linked.

As much as I love gaming, it’s not good for our health and it’s not good for us to pretend that it is. We can enjoy games while still cautioning healthy use – for your eyes, for your hands/wrists, and to help avoid other known issues from too much gaming (like lack of exercise, sleep, and proper nutrition, all of which lead to a ton of health issues). Like all things in life, moderation is key.

Reader
Vellik

On the topic of knowing if you’re not seeing clearly, this is true, but to a certain degree. I’ve had friends tell me about stories involving their realization that they had vision problems ranging from “I always thought everyone had one good eye and one bad eye” to “I never actually knew things were supposed to look this sharp” after receiving glasses and a prescription.

In my case, I knew I couldn’t see when I was straining to read the overhead projector back in high school, but denied it and put off getting glasses for a long time, due to the ill-conceived notion that wearing glasses would worsen my vision somehow. In the cases above, I think it comes down to the issue of myopia not really being talked about, and kids not being educated on the matter. You never expect you’ll have it, and neither do your friends or parents (unless the latter have a history of it).

I guess what I’m getting at is, you don’t always know for sure you have vision issues. Sometimes you grow from a young age always thinking it’s normal. Sometimes you never think to ask or talk about getting glasses. And sometimes, in my case, you resist getting glasses for some reason.

Just my two cents on that point. Carry on with your discussion.

Reader
Leiloni

Well the problem with that argument is that the eye doctor can tell your eyes are bad even if you can’t – that is what we pay them for after all lol. Did you never go to an eye doctor as a kid? That’s a standard doctor all people – even with perfect vision – need to go to every couple of years. It’s like going the dentist or the family doctor for checkups. Do you think 5 year old me had a clue that what I was seeing wasn’t right? No way.

Reader
Arktouros
Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Nobody figured out my husband was legally blind until he was *nine.* He had no idea what he saw wasn’t normal, and nobody else caught it either. Vision testing is much more rigorous for children now, that’s for sure – my son gets tested several times a year at school.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

Why are people arguing what constitutes the Chinese reason for the ban?

It really is quite simple.

Chinese owned game: good.
Western developed game: bad.

Reader
Leiloni

Neither Blade and Soul nor LoL are Chinese Owned and neither are the numerous approved Blizzard games.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

LoL is Chinese.

Reader
john lavallee

CoughTENCENTcough…

Reader
john lavallee

Problem is though, Tencent has a stake in nearly every game on the list of “good, bad, & ugly”. Which means the Chinese government has a stake in all of this as well.

The scary thing is history repeating itself so soon in our lifetime with a tighter grip of censorship forming on the people. Especially when doing so outweighs the country’s monetary and economic gains . Sadly, we have seen this before.

miol
Reader
miol

League of Legends got a pass on “inharmonious chat”?! o.O

Edit: Oh ok, they got approved, but still have to correct:
“Overly revealing female characters, rewards given based on rank, inharmonious chatroom”
While those still prohibited have “Blood and gore, vulgar content” only in common!

Reader
IronSalamander8 .

Yeah, LoL and ‘inharmonious chat’ are intrinsically linked!

Reader
Wilhelm Arcturus

I am pretty sure online games and “Inharmonious chat” pretty much go hand in hand.

Reader
McGuffn

rewards based on rank? oh my

Reader
john lavallee

Participation trophies only..